2014 Jan 12 | poker, testing wide-angle lens at USC, Triton VB, plane ride

My Sprint contract is done in early January, so I looked at the coverage maps of the other providers around my apartment. AT&T still has a hole right at my place.

AT&T data is also terrible.

Sprint calling is excellent.

Although Sprint data is pretty bad.

T-Mobile calling is also great.

And their data is OK, but it's borderline on my place.

Verizon is great overall but has a hole right at my apartment, like AT&T.

Decent data for Verizon.

A mall decorated with a giant bow.

Lots of X's and 6's.

Tons of cops outside this apartment for some reason.

That's an interesting spot for your cell phone.

Akyba had a poker tournament at her place for her birthday. She has a lemon tree.

Playing in the back yard.

A happy face in the door plate.

Aw, I lost the satellite channels which were free for a few months with the Prius.

That's a good fortune cookie.

#313 at McDonald's. On Monday it was 1/13/14, or 13/13/13.

Walmart was so busy they had no more carts.

A nice-smelling potpourri.

LACOS CE meeting at Fundamental. A bit expensive, but very tasty.

Tours at the Disney Concert Hall.

I went to a few different stores before I found these, and they're $4 for two of them. This is why I love Amazon; I don't waste my time looking around in stores and they're under $1 a piece.

The crane is lifting up a porta-potty. Hopefully nobody is in it.

Panoramic calendar, neat.

One reason I like to keep notes on my phone rather than Post-It Notes: almost unreadable after going through the wash.

The first guy parked like a jerk, causing the second guy to park like a jerk.

I jumped up and hit this pipe. Only afterwards did I see all of the fingerprints showing many other people had done the same.

That's a tight squeeze; he's pressing into the other guy's bumper.

Playing a little pinball-like game at Little Caesar's.

My turn.

Free crazy bread if you get a certain ball.

I don't see any.

The sign says black ball with white face, but I think they mean white ball with black face.

Garage sale.

I bought a new wide-angle lens, so I went to USC to test it out.

Fun bike symbol.

In the middle of campus.

First test: normal lens.

Wide angle. It definitely gets more in, but it's not all that more impressive of a photo.

This is where a wide-angle lens is supposed to really stand out, when you have an object in the foreground to contrast with a background.

Although it looks about the same as this, the normal lens.

Vertical with the normal lens.

And with the wide-angle. If you zoom them to the same frame, the lenses basically look the same. The wide angle doesn't take a higher-quality image.

Whole building with a normal lens.

And with the wide angle. This definitely is better, but if I took multiples with the normal lens and stitched them together, I think it'd look about the same.

Normal lens with three pictures stitched together on the left; wide angle on the right. They look pretty similar, the edges of the wide angle distort a bit, giving it a bit of a different feel, but not a lot. I think I actually like the straightness of the normal lens in this case, although as you can see on the right side of the tower about a third of the way from the top, it couldn't stitch them together quite right, so that's an advantage of the wide angle.

The Tommy Trojan statue with the wide angle.

From the front with the wide.

And with the normal. Looks about the same, and angle and framing are more more important for a shot like this than the lens type.

Another normal.

With a zoom lens. Again, about the same.

Although the zoom is better if you want to get close details.

From behind.

Left: normal lens, stitched together. Right: wide angle. About the same, although I think I actually like the normal lens here since the wide angle gives it a funny angle. Depending on how you tilt the lens with the wide angle, you can get some really different perspectives.

Normal lens, stitched together.

Wide angle, stitched together. This time I like the wide angle more, but again, it's the angle, not so much the lens.

Zoom lens.

Panoramic stitched from multiple shots, wide angle on top and normal on bottom. They look quite similar, although the wide angle gets a bit more vertical image. Again, the framing is more important; I think it looks much better when the dark tile that forms a line is straight ahead, like in the bottom picture, rather than around me, like in the top.

A tree with the normal lens, stitched together.

With the wide angle, which gives a bit of a bigger feel to the tree.

A bridge with the wide angle from the side.

From the center with the wide angle.

From the center with the normal lens. The wide angle emphasizes close objects at the expense of far objects, so if your focus is the bridge, this is good, but if it's the museum, it's bad.

Dinosaur statues with the wide angle.

With the normal. Looks basically the same as there's nothing really close to emphasize with the wide angle.

Side, normal lens.

Side, wide angle. Again, same. It might be different if I could get closer, but since they're up on a pedestal, I can't, and zooming in with the wide angle doesn't give the same effect as getting closer with it wide open.

Close up on the t-rex.

Different angle with the wide lens.

And with the normal lens. Again, they basically look the same. I had to stitch a bunch of different pictures together for the normal lens shot, whereas the wide angle I could get it all in with one shot. That's good since I don't have to worry about problems with stitching later on, but on the other hand, stitching will give me a larger overall final image, which is better for printing really big pictures.

Volleyball with Triton on Saturday.

Me going up to block.

Me diving.

Me diving the other way.

Jumping hit.

And another.

Running back for the ball.





Another guy leaning into the bump.

Almost had a traffic accident here.

Leaping for the ball.

Good set.

Coiling to spring into the serve.

Really clear shot right before a serve.

My favorite shot of the day because it was so clear.

Me going up for a block.

Using a Gatorade bottle filled with sand to hold the wire; whatever works.

Me diving.



Lots of sand spraying.


Me jumping and hitting.

Comparing camera lenses again. This is the normal one.

This is the wide angle, which emphasizes foreground objects and minimizes background objects. It also has a wider field of view; the lifeguard hut is out of focus in the above picture but in focus here, even though they're both at F/11.

Another shot with the wide-angle.

Versus normal.

Pretty house.

With lots of little balconies.

Sunday evening we took an airplane ride from Santa Monica airport. This was a neat little plane.

Don't make too much noise.

Ogii ready to go.


The sun over the ocean.

The marina.

405 freeway.

Movie studio.

Baldwin Hills. You can see the really steep steps we climbed to the top in the bottom-left.

Perfect timing; the blimp is out.


Dodgers Stadium.

That's huge.

Neat landscaping.

Griffith Observatory and downtown.

Me taking a picture of the Hollywood sign.

The picture I got.

Griffith Observatory from the front.


Hollywood Forever Cemetary.


A mansion.

The blimp with the sun.

On the other side.

A close-up of the blimp.

The sun setting over the ocean across from Santa Monica.

Looking up towards Malibu.

The Santa Monica pier. I actually took a ton of pictures as we circled the pier, but still had my settings for the sun shots, so all the others came out too dark.

Sun just about down.

Looking through the front.

Santa Monica past the highway.

Another highway.

Sunset after we landed.

A plane taking off.

Us by the plane.

Everything now wants to install a crummy toolbar.

It's freezing everywhere else due to the polar vortex; it's almost 80 here.

I don't even have enough memory to get new emails? I definitely need a new phone.